“Listen to yourself; don’t talk to yourself.” I heard this excellent advice from an Iraq veteran being interviewed on NPR today. Regrettably, I did not hear the start of the interview, so I did not get his name. Love this wisdom, whoever this young philosopher is.

I know in my past, I spent a lot of time talking to myself, not listening to my intuition. So many times patients in therapy do the same thing. Unfortunately, much of the internal “talking” we do┬áinvolves negative, self-critical, self-judgmental, self-shaming messages. We spend so much time chastising ourselves we don’t have time or the mental stillness to listen to our emotions, our intuition or our true selves speaking truths.

As I began to listen to my intuition bubbling up and really hear what my inner self said, I was able to over-rule the inaccurate statements I had learned and practiced repeating to myself over the years.

Self-acceptance is about treating ourselves as we would treat a friend. Listen to the things you say to yourself. Would you say these to a friend? Would you even say these to a stranger? Probably not.

Mindfulness is the first step, which this saying refers to. Listen to yourself. Observe your thoughts with a curious, open, accepting frame of mind. Rather than immediately making a judgment about a thought, just observe it and consider it. Notice the emotions that arise. Pause and consider the source of the thought.

This reflective pause may be enough to stop you from entering a fear-based, reactive response to your thought. This pause also engages the cognitive or “thinking” mind, which disengages the anxious, emotional mind, allowing you to use your wisdom to respond, rather than an unthinking, reactive nature.

When in doubt: “Listen to yourself, don’t talk too yourself.”

…be kind to yourself

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